Gillingham Ladies Manager Jack Wheeler has added to his back room staff with the addition of England Legend Pauline Cope-Boanas as Goalkeeper Coach.
Cope-Boanas is a huge coup for the women's team, bringing a huge amount of experience and prestige having enjoyed an illustrious international and domestic playing career.
Having won 60 caps for the England Women's National team, Cope- Boanas was England's first choice goalkeeper at the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup and UEFA Women's Euros in 2001. Cope- Boanas is an FA Women's Cup winner with Millwall Lionesses, Croydon and Arsenal and featured in another cup final with Charlton Athletic.
Cope- Boanas spoke ahead of Gillingham Ladies home game against Norwich City Ladies and revealed her excitement at getting back into coaching with the club.
"I'm really looking forward to it. My husband Keith Boanas has been banging on at me for the past nine years to get back into coaching and I played in a charity match for the All England Legends up north about a month ago and I kind of realised what I was missing."
"I was thinking about getting into coaching and Jack contacted me, I've known Jack for a few years as he worked with my husband at the David Beckham Academy and he asked how I'd feel about joining Gills. I only live half an hour away so it was a great opportunity for me to get back involved."
The addition is a huge coup for Gills Ladies as Cope- Boanas will be providing expert training, coaching and guidance to the squad, not just the club's keepers Courtney Shanley and Imogen Alabaster. Having led her first session with the Gills keepers ahead of Sunday's game, Cope- Boanas was pleased with the attitude and application she has already witnessed.
"It's a great club with two good young goalkeepers who are willing to learn which is massive. The opportunities for women's football now is phenomenal. It was never like that when I was playing and I think I was born 20 years too early because the opportunities for the girls now are amazing. I've just said to the girls, this is time to knuckle down now. There's a great future for the women's game and it starts from today."
Cope- Boanas’ words resonated with the team who put on a fantastic team performance to secure a 4-1 victory over the Canaries at Chatham Town. Cope- Boanas believes with the Gills leading the way in Kent, there is plenty of reason to push ahead with the goal of playing WSL football.
"Because this is the only club in this area, there's not many clubs for the girls to go to. So if you can start them at an early age, the future does look bright for Gills. They're the only club I know of in this area, so it's a great opportunity. It's something that has to work both ways with the girls giving there all and the club investing because the money Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea are throwing about, players in Kent can only dream about it."
With the first three points on the board, it is clear Cope- Boanas joins the club's joint mission bringing further impetus and power to keep striving forward.
"Everyone has to get on board, everyone has to be fighting and pulling together in the same direction and I don't see why Gills can't be a force to be reckoned with."